Cat Health Examination
Monday to Thursday: 9 AM-5 PM
Saturday: 9 AM-12 PM
Friday and Sunday: Closed
Benefits of Annual Physical Exams for Cats
Annual physical exams give you peace of mind knowing the state of your cat’s health. Annual exams give you a baseline for what is normal for your cat’s health so you can readily see any changes from the previous year. Yearly checkups can lengthen your cat’s life expectancy by addressing health issues early on before they become more serious and advanced and difficult to treat. Your veterinarian will be able to detect any new health problems or chronic conditions and treat them immediately, that might have otherwise been missed or delayed if you waited another year.
What to Expect at Your Cat’s Annual Exam
Annual wellness visits are considered nose-to-tail physical exams where your vet will check the following on your cat:
Mouth, teeth and gums for disease and tooth decay
Eyes and ears for infections, inflammation and any drainage
Nose for congestion or drainage
Heart for heart murmurs or abnormal sounds and rhythms
Lungs for respiratory congestion or abnormalities
Kidneys are manually checked for pain, sensitivity and size
Skin is checked for any sign of skin disease, lesions, abnormal bumps or growths
Fur is checked for flea dirt and fleas, and condition of the coat
Leg joints for range of movement
Internal organs will be palpated for any signs of abnormalities or problems
Lastly, your vet will check your cat’s bottom for any sign of infection or worms, and do a rectal exam for any impaction.
At this time, following the exam, laboratory tests may be recommended. Your vet may want to do a Complete Blood Count or Blood Chemistry Panel for a baseline or to diagnose a particular concern. In addition, a Urinalysis may be done if your cat is older or your vet is concerned about your cat’s kidneys, possible bladder or kidney infection, or kidney disease. A Fecal Smear would be necessary only if your vet was concerned about worms and parasites, but this is not typically part of an annual exam.
Senior Cats Should Get Wellness Exams Every 6 Months
Cats under the age of 12 years old can have annual vet visits unless there’s an underlying issue, but cats older than 12 years should be evaluated every six months to be on the safe side. A 12-year-old cat is about 70 in human years and are more susceptible to developing health problems associated with aging.
If you have a senior or geriatric cat, it’s even more important to visit your vet and run routine diagnostic tests. Your older cat can be dealing with multiple health issues, each of which should be addressed to make your cat more comfortable, reduce any suffering and pain, and give them greater quality of life. Older cats over 12 years of age are more prone to kidney disease, thyroid disease, diabetes if they are obese, have arthritis and joint problems, need dental work done, can be more prone to getting infections, and may have other underlying issues.
Vaccinations for Cats
If you adopted your cat as a kitten, check your records that kitten was properly vaccinated and received their one-year FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis Calicivirus Panleukopenia) booster. After the one-year booster, the new medical veterinary recommendations are that the FVRCP vaccine be given every years. But if your cat is an indoor-only cat that may not even be necessary, however, outdoor cats are at higher risk. This is a “core” vaccine and an important one, but be careful of giving any other additional core or non-core vaccines that may not be necessary or needed, as there are side-effects and problems associated with giving vaccines, especially non-core and attenuated, killed vaccines. Following you can learn about some disease that we use vaccines to prevent them.
Panleukopenia is the cat disease most often referred to as "distemper" in this species. It is a deadly disease. Fortunately, it is not a very common disease as vaccination against it appears to be very successful. Kittens require a series of vaccinations starting between 6-8 weeks of age and then every 3 to 4 weeks from the time vaccinations start until they are approximately 16 weeks old. Since this virus does not always require direct contact for transmission, it is generally included in the series of recommended vaccinations for all cats.
Rhinotracheitis is caused by a herpes virus. It causes respiratory disease in its acute phase. Chronically, it can be the cause of persistant eye irritation and corneal disease (cloudiness or blood vessel infiltration in the clear part of the eye). Due to the potentially chronic nature of this disease it is also usually recommended for most cats. It appears that the protection against this disease from vaccination is of relatively short duration and yearly boosters seem to be a necessity.
This virus also causes respiratory disease in its acute phase. It also can become chronic. Affected cats may have persistant gum disease or chronically recurring upper respiratory disease. This virus is also recommended for most cats.
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) requires direct contact with an infected cat in order to spread. For this reason, it may not be necessary for cats confined to the home. Some veterinarians feel that the risk of a cat getting loose from the house justifies using this vaccine, anyway. We think this might be true if vaccines were risk free. We don't think they are, though. This vaccine should be administered to cats who live full-time or part-time outdoors. We recommend that cats who live indoors exclusively not be vaccinated. All kittens should have at least two vaccinations regardless of their life style.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis
We think that there are very few instances in which the use of this vaccine is warranted. If you have a large number of cats, it might be worthwhile. Otherwise, skip it. There is a great deal of question about how well this vaccine works.
This incurable viral disease affects the central nervous system of almost all mammals, includinghumans. It is spread through contact with the saliva of infected animals (which can include skunks, foxes, raccoons and baths) through bites or any break in the skin. Vaccination will provide cats with much greater resistance to rabies if they are exposed to the disease. You must be aware that there is no cure once it occurs. For this reason, many municipalities absolutely requiere that all cats receive rabies vaccinations in a regular basis. Plus, you will definitely have to provide vaccination records if you ever want to travel with your cat across the country or around the world
Dental Care for Cats
One of the most important benefits of the annual wellness exam is checking your cat’s mouth, gums and teeth. Many serious systemic health conditions can be seen in the mouth, and also problems in the mouth can lead to other more serious health conditions. Plus, dental problems are painful for your cat, so your cat may be suffering and you may not know it. Providing veterinary dental care as often as needed is vital and important to your cat’s health, happiness and well being.
Giving your cat a well-check exam every year will certainly improve the overall quality of your cat’s health and life, and will decrease any suffering they may otherwise experience if they are not seen by a vet. Remember cats mask their suffering and pain well, so an annual exam can make all the difference in the world for them.